National News

Kids put pressure on Maroons league coach

Fans of Billy Slater can thank the kids of Queensland rugby league coach Kevin Walters for exerting some not so subtle pressure on their dad.

Slater wasn't picked for the State of Origin game one loss in Sydney despite being in phenomenal club form after his long injury layoff.

The brilliant Melbourne Storm fullback played a big part in Queensland's wins in games two and three after being restored to the side.

"The kids brought a banner in (saying) 'bring back Slater' and started chanting 'bring back Slater' around the dinner table after Origin one." Walters said on Fox Sports' NRL 360.

"That really turned my coaching career around I can tell you, bringing Slater back."

Origin debutant Cameron Munster's selection at five-eighth ahead of more proven players in that position for the series decider proved to be another good choice.

Munster spent almost all of his first two full seasons at Melbourne at fullback while Slater was out injured.

He only started playing at five-eighth when the Storm champion returned to action earlier in the season.

"We did a lot of research as a staff speaking to people at different clubs where they felt the best position for their players was," Walters said.

"We got the opinions of people that we trust and rely on and we made informed decisions around that.

"It's not just not 'pick him out and put him there', we're a bit smarter than that and I think it worked out pretty well."

While the performances of Maroons' halves Munster and Cooper Cronk were hailed, NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce again had to deal with scrutiny and criticism of his Origin efforts.

Walters was surprised and grateful Pearce didn't run with the ball more.

"One of his great assets is his ability to run the ball and thankfully for us he didn't do that as much in games two and three," Walters said.

Pearce's former Sydney Rooster and Blues colleague Anthony Minichiello stressed blame for the Blues loss should be shared among the players rather than being heaped on Pearce.

"There's obviously been a lot of pressure on Pearcey and to be honest it's hard to control a game when your forward pack wasn't going forward,' Minichiello said on Fox League.

"Everyone's to blame, it's not just Pearcey."

© AAP 2017

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